Bud Cauley had the advantage of teeing off in the morning on a breezy day at Waialae Country Club, but somewhere late on the first nine, the wind picked up. He was frustrated with some of his wedge shots, but he posted a two-under 68 in the second round to follow his opening four-under 66.
It wasn’t one of his best rounds, but it kept him in contention. The rookie is six-under at the halfway point of the Sony Open, putting him in solid position at T7 and four shots behind leader Matt Every, who lit up Waialae on Friday.
“(The course) was there for the taking early,” Cauley told reporters after his round. “I wasn’t able to hit the shots I wanted, so I kind of got off to a slow start but then made some birdies kind of in the middle and towards the end. When the wind started to pick up it started to play a little firmer and faster.”
While he’s worked out to prepare for the season, there are always parts of the game that can be improved. For Cauley, sounds like it’s his short game.
“I still need to work on some chipping and work on a little putting,” he said.
Last fall Cauley joined an elite (and small) group of players when he finished in the top 125 of the current year’s PGA Tour money list and earned his 2012 card without a trip to Q-school. He won $735,150 in eight starts (playing on sponsor’s invites), equivalent to 114th on the list. He became only the sixth player in Tour history to achieve the challenging feat, with the other five being Ryan Moore, Tiger Woods, Justin Leonard, Phil Mickelson and Gary Halberg.
So far, the 21-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida, has picked up right where he left off last year. He has a bit more experience than the average rookie — well, at least on the PGA Tour — but he doesn’t look like a lost freshman wandering aimlessly in the hallways trying to find homeroom; Cauley looks like he belongs.
And he was raring to kick off 2012 on Thursday.
“The first drive always seems to go a little bit further than all the other ones, but I felt fine and I was able to hit a good shot…Yeah, (which isn’t a bad thing) as long as it’s straight, right?”
In related news, Cauley, a product of the University of Alabama, played a practice round Tuesday with Auburn University golfers Jason Dufner and Will Claxton, along with Ted Potter Jr.
“The conversation was pretty colorful,” said Cauley.
The four split up in pairs and challenged each other to a friendly match. Interestingly enough, Cauley teamed up with Dufner.
“There was some trash talking,” said Claxton, a rookie who played primarily on the Hooters Tour last year. “Jason likes to pick on me about Ted Potter beating me all year, which he pretty much did very week last year. So I was hoping to get revenge, and me and Potter took on he and Bud, and they got the best of us. It was a good match. (Ted and I) lost 1-down. I was hoping that Potter would come out here and beat up on (Dufner), so I could talk trash to him.”
Well, Claxton now has a different reason to give Dufner a hard time. In his first start as a PGA Tour member (and second-career), Claxton shot rounds of 66-69, five-under through 36 holes and good enough for T17. Meanwhile, Dufner, who
choked lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley at last year’s PGA Championship, missed the cut, posting forgettable rounds of 71.
(AP Photo/Marco Garcia)